Local ice cream shop The Chocolate Moose started welcoming patrons at its newest storefront on March 30 and will continue its grand opening until April 10. The new shop is located next to BuffaLouie’s on 114 S. Indiana Ave.
This location marks the ice cream store’s third in Bloomington and fourth in Indiana, the other storefront is located in Nashville, Indiana.
Jordan Davis, the director of operations at The Chocolate Moose, said BuffaLouie’s reached out to the ice cream company and suggested opening a location next door at The Gables.
“We thought it was a no-brainer decision,” Davis said. “It was pretty cool to have two such long-running and well-known local Bloomington brands come together.”
The Chocolate Moose has been a local establishment since the 1930s with homemade ice cream, baked goods and beverages.
Davis said the location is ideal because their team can serve the morning crowd better than at the Walnut Street location. The new ice cream venue has seating in BuffaLouie’s with Wi-Fi so patrons can enjoy food even when BuffaLouie’s isn’t open, Davis said in an email.
The new store will open earlier than other locations. This location will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. On Fridays, they will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and, on Saturdays, from noon to 11 p.m. On Sundays, the shop will be open from 2 to 10 p.m.
Davis said he hopes the earlier morning hours will encourage people to switch up their routines and try more of the coffee products The Chocolate Moose offers through their partnership with Brown County Coffee.
“We have a really good wholesale relationship with them,” Davis said. “They’ve been fantastic the whole way — in terms of giving us guidance and providing us with a fantastic product from a really cool roaster who knows what he’s doing.”
The Chocolate Moose is always interested in partnering with other local companies, such as BuffaLouie’s and Brown County Coffee, Davis said. He said he’s sure some people will gravitate towards the nearby Starbucks, but he hopes most will choose to support local brands.
Davis said he is always touched when kids asked their parents specifically for The Chocolate Moose, not just ice cream. He said he wants to make the new shop an inviting space for all occasions.
Kathy Roberts, a long-term customer at the Nashville, Indiana, location, said she was pleasantly surprised to hear about the new shop.
Roberts, a camp manager in Brown County, said she likes to take her staff and other friends to The Chocolate Moose.
“Chocolate Moose definitely ranks first of the ice cream shops in Nashville,” Roberts said.
She said she’s tried all of the flavors and the Vegan Grasshopper is her favorite.
“People say, ‘But it’s vegan,’ but it really is good,” Roberts said.
Roberts said she loves the bold flavors and her next mission is to design the perfect sundae.
“I’m glad they’re going strong, and I’m excited to patronize them,” Roberts said.
Aaron Biggs, the regional manager for The Chocolate Moose, said the store is giving out free samples on Indiana Avenue until April 10.
“You can never have too much ice cream,” Biggs said. “That’s our number one mantra.”
He said he’s glad Nick Schultz, the owner of Brown County Coffee, and Ed and Jaimie Schwartzman at BuffaLouie’s understand tradition and the importance of being local.
“It’s been a good collaboration, knowing that people love their local businesses,” Biggs said. “There’s going to be hiccups along the way, but we do things the right way and have a smile on our face every day.”